The Perfect Spring in Toronto

Toronto Skyline

Toronto Skyline

An explosion of energy, joy and increased outdoor activity comes with the end of a cold Canadian winter and the city of Toronto is no exception. Even better, the unfortunate existence of global warming brings this joie de vivre to us earlier each year; weather in April often is in the mid-teens (Celsius) and sometimes even in the early twenties.

My advice? Take advantage and visit Toronto when the weather is getting warmer, energy is in the air and prices are cheaper. So, what are you going to do when you get here?

Get Outside!

  • Stroll, run, rollerblade and bike along Toronto’s Waterfront and experience a quieter side of Toronto. Tip: If you’re serious about exercising then begin at Bathurst Street and work your way west. Leisure? Work your way east.
  • More than 60% of the world’s lakes are in Canada and the region known as Muskoka, two hours north of Toronto, is the hottest ticket in town. Find yourself a friend with a cottage in Muskoka whether it be a shack or a mansion and enjoy the sun, water sports, and camaraderie around the fire while surrounded by the unique topography of the great Canadian Shield. It’s an experience not to be missed and while many cottages are winterized in cottage country, as it’s affectionately called, the good times do not often begin before the Victoria Day holiday over the third weekend in May.
  • Take the ferry to Toronto Island and don’t forget your rollerblades or bikes. Tip: When going to the islands pack a picnic to save money and wait for the magnificent sunset over Toronto’s skyline.
Toronto Island

Toronto Island

– Choose the ferry for Ward Island and immerse yourself in island life as its local residents do; meandering through the narrow walkways and peeking inside the charming cottages. Enjoy the Rectory Café and the best burger I’ve had in a long time. Suntan and swim at Ward Island Beach.

– Visiting Toronto Island with kids? Take the Centre Island ferry and enjoy the weekend amusement rides in May and daily from June – September.

– Feel like tanning and/or swimming in the nude? The Hanlon’s Point ferry is the one you want taking you to Hanlon’s Point Beach; perfect for both the straight and LGBT crowd.

  • It’s patio season and time to people watch! Head to The Drake Hotel’s rooftop patio frequented by young professionals, hipsters and travellers looking to meet Torontonians. Oasis’ rooftop patio in the heart of the club district is especially popular on Thursdays after work and well into the evening. Meet up with friends and lounge out by the waterfall and enjoy the most popular pop and house music hits. Tip: Make sure you get there early to avoid long waits. Looking for a great street patio? Don’t miss the Black Bull on Queen Street and anywhere in Little Italy on College Street.

Don’t Forget The Festivals!

  • March brings Canadian Fashion Week and the Canadian Music Festival.
  • April – TIFF (Toronto’s International Film Festival) for Kids, Hot Docs (Documentary Film Festival) and the Toronto Art Expo
  • May – Doors Open – Many of Toronto’s historical buildings of architectural, cultural and social significance are open to the public to discover.
  • June – Taste of Little Italy, North By Northeast Music Festival and Pride

Where To Stay? There are some great accommodation options in downtown Toronto that won’t break the bank and which offer more personality than the big chains. Check out a few Queen West hotels such as The Gladstone and The Drake (referenced above) for a more intimate guest experience and hip boutique feel. Hotel Ocho, located downtown, is an old loft conversion with 12 bedrooms, a great bar and fantastic rates. Toronto also offers two hostels, one in the club district, Canadian Backpacker’s Inn and one on the border of King West, Global Village Backpackers. Finally, Toronto is a good city for CouchSurfing and you’ll often find yourself staying with people who have adopted Toronto as their home, meeting even more people from around the world.

The Drake Hotel Toronto

The Drake Hotel Toronto

How To Get From The Airport? A rapid transit train is currently being built for the PanAm games being held in Toronto in 2015 but until then the options are as follows.

–       Taxi: To downtown a taxi will run you about $55-$60.

–       Bus: The Airport Express drops off and picks up at several downtown hotels and locations. Roundtrip costs $40 and you’ll save a further 5% by booking online.

–       Public Transit: Grab the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) bus from your terminal which goes to Kipling station (the closest subway station to the airport). There take the Bloor line east (the only direction it goes from Kipling) to wherever you’re headed. Allow forty-five minutes for the bus and then another thirty to forty-five minutes to get to a downtown subway stop. Rush hour will especially impact the bus’ travel time so allow for extra time between 7:00am and 8:30am and 3:30pm-6:30pm. If taking public transit I highly recommend aiming to be at the airport 3 hours in advance.

TTC Streetcar

TTC Streetcar

Restaurant Favourites

  • The One That Got Away (King Street West) – Fish and chips, fish tacos, fish sandwiches and wraps. Also, crab cakes, breaded scallops and fried calamari. All fresh and delicious. Eat there or take away.
  • The Bier Markt (across the street from The One That Got Away) – great food albeit pricier and an excellent beer selection. A great bar in the evenings.
  • 416 Snackbar – (Queen St & Bathurst) – Think tapas/comfort food style. Mini Big Macs (on Sunday), mini Reubens, mini Yorkshire puddings, oysters, Korean Fried Chicken and yes, some great vegetarian options.
  • Foxley (Dundas & Ossington) – Fantastic Thai fusion. No reservations so if you have to wait, head over to Reposado Tequila Bar until they call you. Well worth the wait!
  • The Keg Mansion (College & Jarvis) – The Keg is a fantastic steak chain with many locations, however, the Keg Mansion is my favourite, housed in an old Toronto mansion.

Toronto has so much to offer and is an incredible destination all year round or cold but our recommendation is to visit in the Spring, Summer or Fall when the city is very much alive!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Pulau Weh Booking Information – Dirty Details

Read here for our account of Pulau Weh diving Read here for our experience in Pulau Weh NOTE: The PDF guide to Pulau Weh (at the end of this document) is the most recent one we could find on the island, from 2008. Times and prices will have likely changed.   Indonesian Travel Visa – […]